Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy


Computer Science


Dr. Michael Katchabaw


From the point of view of skill levels, reflex speeds, hand-eye coordination, tolerance for frustration, and motivations, video game players may vary drastically. Auto dynamic difficulty (ADD) in video games refers to the technique of automatically adjusting different aspects of a video game in real time, based on the player’s ability and emergence factors in order to provide the optimal experience to users from such a large demography and increase replay value. In this thesis, we describe a collection of software design patterns for enabling auto dynamic difficulty in video games. We also discuss the benefits of a design pattern based approach in terms of software quality factors and process improvements based on our experience of applying it in three different video games. Additionally, we present a semi-automatic framework to assist in applying our design pattern based approach in video games. Finally, we conducted a preliminary user study where a Post-Degree Diploma student at the University of Western Ontario applied the design pattern based approach to create ADD in two arcade style games.